In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 we read that (16) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; (17) so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good
Remember while studying the Bible, that there are no sections of the Bible, (in the Old or New Testament) that have less authority than others. Anyone who states that a person need only to live by, or study part of the Bible (just the New Testament) is incorrect. For the doctrines supported by the New Testament need for a good understanding to be built upon what the Old Testament teaches.
For a correct understanding of a topic we need to study ALL the pieces related to the topic.
Jumping to conclusions based on only a few pieces of Scripture may lead to false teachings.
The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to “rightly divide” the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15).
Personal opinions, no matter how strongly held or emotionally supported, do not constitute divine truth. As 2 Peter 1:20 says: Know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation
Many false prophets rely on their own opinion, on charisma, or on the authoritative way in which they speak, along with emotional reasoning, to push their false teachings.
As a general rule, in order to come to a proper understanding of God’s, we must be aware of our own emotional biases. And we must honest enough with ourselves to admit a belief is wrong when we discover its foundation comes more from opinion than Bible facts.
The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to examine everything carefully, and hold fast to that which is good.
Like the Bereans, we must be willing to constantly search the Scriptures to either validate or refute what we believe (Acts 17:11).
Romans 12:2 teaches us that we must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Some principles of Bible study that will help our understanding of the Bible are.
– If possible find a quiet place.
– Begin the study with a humble prayer asking God to lead your mind to HIS truth.
– Let the Bible interpret and prove itself. Do not look for what YOU want to prove, seek for what the Word actually says.
– When studying a particular topic, collect first the Scriptures that are easy to understand before moving on to more difficult ones.
– Try to understand the context of the Scriptures you are reviewing.
– Ask yourself what the Bible says in the verses and chapter BEFORE and AFTER the one you are reading.
– Try to understand what the writer meant to say.
If you can, it is also advisable to research the original language (Hebrew and Greek) to find the original meaning of words and phrases.
Commentaries and dictionaries can also be of great help, but keep in mind that they are created by people who are able to make mistakes.
When you research the Bible, ask yourself what the verses you are reading say and do not say.
Be willing to research who wrote the verses, and to whom they were written. Also look into historical period of the passages.
Remember that many times the Bible uses symbols, parables, metaphors, poetry, personification, allegories, idioms, hyperboles, and other literary devices to teach.
And lastly, but most important to benefit the most from the time spent on Bible study, we must be willing to let God’s spirit lead and guide us into what is right and acceptable in his eyes.
May these guidelines help you to reach your goals of understanding a bit more about our loving God.